by Curt Finch

How Genius Is Your IT?

Sep 10, 20124 mins
Consumer ElectronicsIT LeadershipIT Strategy

I have written in the past (repeatedly, actually) about the value that the BYOD trend can have for businesses. Let’s assume you agree and want to implement BYOD activities into your corporate architecture. How do you do so in a way that makes sense for both your business and your employees? How, in the end, do you keep all those devices running happily and to the benefit of your company?

Some businesses have turned to what many consider the source of the BYOD trend: Apple.

Their “Genius Bar” customer service system has proven both popular and effective and therefore many businesses are structuring their internal shops to mirror that success. When employees need help with technology, the idea is for companies to develop their own version of the Genius Bar staffed by corporate IT professionals. But what exactly makes the Genius Bar so great, and how can you capture that in your business?

1. It’s Organized

Unlike most customer service centers, the Genius Bar does not generally allow walk-ups. Rather, they require the customer to schedule an appointment, and then to arrive during that allotted time. This helps both the business and the consumer. Rather than slogging through a backlog of issues, the customer service team can deal with several appointment slots and then be done with it. Customers do not have to wait in a long line or “take a number”. They simply arrive during their appointment time and they will be sure to get help.

For companies, this technique can be a great time saver. The overworked IT professionals will appreciate a more structured schedule and employees will be able to schedule a time that works for them. Obviously, within a corporate setting, some emergencies may arise. However, as long as you build this contingency into your plan, it should provide a less stressful environment for everyone.

2. It’s Personal

When you show up to a Genius Bar appointment, there is a staff member waiting for you. For the duration of your time there, that staff member is focused only on your problem. They may not be able to fix it, but you see firsthand that they’re working on the problem. Also, they generally attempt to educate you on common solutions so you’ll be better prepared if you have the issue again in the future.

In a corporate setting, IT shops have a priority list that does not always allow for focus. If you restructure this to allow for individualized attention to personal device usage, then the help you receive will increase in quality. You can also learn how to work out the problem yourself, saving time and effort in the long-run.

3. It’s Focused

The Apple Genius Bar focuses on only Apple products, and this is a core strength. They have highly-specific, user-focused expertise that provides real value.

On the business side of things, perhaps the best “Genius IT Bar” will not be a total restructuring of IT, but rather the restructuring of a segment dealing specifically with mobile devices. While they won’t all be from the same manufacturer, commonality of problems will allow for a faster fix in most cases. So, if you put a “Genius Bar” in place, focus it specifically to mobile device problems and you will increase the efficiency and focus of help for those devices.

Clearly, not every business has the ability to implement all of these aspects into their IT strategy. However, there are some valuable lessons to be learned here as mobile optimization becomes an ever-larger priority and strategies need to adapt.

If you have an innovative approach to helping IT cope with mobile devices, I would love to hear about it in the comments.